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Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tech dashboard for researchers earns IU Research Administration international honor for innovation

July 21, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Office of Research Administration (ORA) has been named the recipient of the 2011 Technology Innovation and Application Award from the Society of Research Administrators (SRA) International. ORA received the award for its development of an online one-stop shop for researchers and administrators interested in tracking grant proposals and awards.

MYRA Award

My Research Administration, known as MyRA, was first implemented in 2010 as a way to efficiently and effectively manage the fiscal and regulatory responsibilities related to research at IU, according to IU Associate Vice President for Research Administration Steve Martin.

Led by Lora O'Connor, ORA executive director for research administrative systems, and her team, technical development of MyRA is a direct result of the investment made by IU President Michael McRobbie in 2008 to improve administrative support for research. During fiscal year 2009-2010, IU received a record $603.9 million in grants and awards for research and other sponsored programs.

"Our goal was to develop a tool that empowered researchers with accessible, understandable and timely information about their specific grant and compliance activities," Martin said. "The recognition from this international body of peers rewards the dedication of our staff toward meeting its mission of providing exceptional support for an exceptional research community."

MyRA provides a personalized, secure dashboard that makes available to each researcher and grants administrator a list of grant awards by sponsor, with links to expenses and encumbrances compared to account budget. It also provides Institutional Review Board status information, award negotiations updates, access to grant documents and current budget and expenditure information on sponsored projects.

"The award from SRA recognizes how effective and useful MyRA is at bringing together information previously spread across different databases," said IU Vice President for Research Jorge Josť. "MyRA is an important part of our overall effort to give IU researchers every means of support possible."

More than 1,654 IU users have logged into MyRA, which on average receives about 45,000 queries each month.

MyRA user Sherry Kay, assistant director of contract and grant administration for IU Bloomington's School of Informatics and Computing, said access to a researcher's grant details -- from proposal through award to compliance -- has never been more efficient.

"Feedback from faculty has been unanimous," she said. "They love it so much they want the ability to view their non-grant accounts in the same manner."

In making the announcement, SRA International President Jim Hanlon said IU's Office of Research Administration was being recognized from within a group of approximately 4,000 international members who work in research administration at hospitals, universities, nonprofits and at the federal government.

"IU's nomination stood out as being both broad-reaching and innovative," he said. "It is being presented to your dedicated technology team in recognition for its personalized dashboard, MyRA . . . to recognize leadership in the use of technology within the field of research administration."

IU's award will be formally presented Oct. 25 in Montreal during the 2011 SRA International Annual Business Meeting and Awards Breakfast.

For more information or to speak with Martin or Josť, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or